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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 5, 2014 2:30pm-4:31pm EST

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are many activities in the trading companies. for each trade company because the most important outcome is [inaudible] they are local offices. local offices collect transport come export, production, distribution, mobilizing and a private enterprise which is a combination of public and private. they have the trading companies
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but the officers don't have any commercial talent. they must hire civilians who have money and who have commercial talent. so even though military unit managed the company and must run by civilians. for example i don't know the military title -- he carries out his commercial activities as
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official activities and they are producers picking and gathering. as hierarchical. almost every organization in the party state commercially run companies to finance the expenditures in the early 1990s. among them they have more than
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others. but they have no talent. they are giving them the status of the public officials. they come to the public officials and they should pay a certain amount of the due to the official private employee. otherwise they are free and commercial activities and enjoy the protection and emphasize public authority as a public official. as a host of the national information at work they have cell phones and they help each other in local cities and exchange information about how
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the price should be and what the rate should be. so there is an equalization in north korea. they are organized including the trading agencies and the official title is part of the police station organization. and in some cases there are the private firms by then choosing the private sector and commercial talent and they
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produced the export companies but also for the local markets. the producers -- this is a picture on the partner is kim jong-il according to the importance of the organization to the survival. and there's a very strong competition.
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they are reducing the size and the time to deal with the economy and it gets more licenses than the party. it's a very strong competition. inside they distribute the lower units into the lower unit pays $6. this is a basic structure.
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the local branch of the production base. if you go about then it will go down. in this economy productivity is not so important. you must invest in the question otherwise you are wiped out by others and there is the institution property buyers. but it's not legal. if you have the contract if you
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don't pay back i will kill you. it is a simple solution. and the producers in this market economy it regulates who will be the next and many of the companies are wiped out. so, in this economy, this regulation must be done peacefully here. the political monopolies.
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he must wipe out for the other citizens. for the bureaucratic regulatory measures in the intensifying struggle this is a matter of regulating it in a free-market economy, the productivity decides that in north korea we must be able to get it done. the relocation. [applause]
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thank you very much. i think your english is much better than your korean. and if you allow us we will take one minute for the translation system.
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>> [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible conversations] >> thank you very much. i'm glad to meet you. in korea, i speak in korea and. >> translator: the marketization's in north korea there's been some changes in
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north korea and the basic framework is in the different generations that we have in north korea. i would like to have the different generations in north korea. there is the market mechanism in north korea and has been in place for about 20 years by now coming into the market economy for north korea is an economy that is outside of the planned economy that north korea was and there is a new generation of those who were born perhaps sometimes after the 1970s and who have grown up watching this
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take place and so the parent generation of distribution received these subsidies from the planned economy that the new generation hasn't actually received the distributions from the government regime so they have actually not seen the socialist regime at work. they actually do not have as much loyalty to the regime. what they have seen if their mom and dad working in these market economies and producing income from these market economies so these are two different generations. this is the stories are two different people in north korea. there is a hypothetical person
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in my story. he is 34-years-old in north korea. how does he go about establishing himself as a businessman? and as i study in north korea is does have a market economy but the market economy is different in the mind of the different generations. the turning point for the market economy as 1983 in my mind. there was a girl who was wearing a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt and actually many people were quite surprised to see this
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college student from south korea and she may have been the first. and this refers to the south korean capitalism and that had a far-reaching impact in the minds of the north koreans and so if you wanted to understand the mindset of -- you would approach the perspective that they see something and it becomes a part of the north koreans, so i don't think that it is taking on
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everything coming as something that is legitimate and worthy of following that there are certain things that are striking. these are the new generations who are not used to the socialist regime of north korea in the old days, and there is a talent that is known from a famous actress didn't south korea. and if you put her product on any picture, they will realize it is much better so this is in a way in marketing.
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so any product you put her picture on its turns into more of a prized item in a luxury. as interesting as it is it just goes to show you that for the new generation it's not just a the utility that any item provides that the idea behind it is that something can be marketed now, something that can be given because it was associated with something better such as an actress. so in my writing i give you an analogy of a young man and his mother and the mother works in a market and she is selling fried
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goods in the market and the sun actually brings his friends up to see the mom and she gets really upset because now that he's brought these kids with him to the market, she has to give some of this food to the son and his friends and they are not able to solve a fried goods for herself so she feels that he shouldn't come to the market because she cannot so all of her dead so that is one aspect and then another aspect is that the sun actually after growing up goes to the military into the military he becomes in charge of some products and by selling these products at higher
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competitive prices, he's able to realize certain profits. so this is is anyway a different way of looking at how these different generations are looking at the profits. as of so the parents of generation has limited resources it's not the limited resources that the competitive ways of selling the item that's what is more important so you can see even from my little story that they are looking at opportunities in different ways, so different where the sign is looking at it from competition
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for this is becoming more clear pushing resources into the market and market activities from different perspectives. earlier we heard about the currency exchange that's taking place. it's actually none of the currency reform. because up until then the people traded using the foreign currencies such as they were
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used but after the currency reform that took place in north korea people actually came to realize that it was very weak and that it's not a very reliable currency, so it actually became a point where they became distrustful of the government activities and that it was no longer a prized currency and people decided that it's better to hold onto the american dollars because they felt that the currencies would be much more stable into the future so we can see that they
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are smart and they can actually study their own system and they come to realize with their best interest. they no longer rely on the government and the region to tell them what is in their best interest and in fact they come to distrust any planning activities when it comes to the economy and so we see that there is no planned economy at all and that private citizens are finding ways to survive because the government is no longer provides distribution and if you rely on the leader to provide these things to you you will die of hunger because there is none coming your way and people are
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getting smarter and smarter. however, different generations are approaching these in a different way. i would say that they are becoming more energetic because they've been exposed to the market economy much longer and they understand the logic of capitalism that has been introduced by necessity and this was in order for people to survive. in the areas of north korea bordering china we see that a lot of young people are engaged in trade activities and we see that rather than older people, young people are now engaged in these trade activities. in the older days it used to be
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older people who were allowed to travel far and even across the border to trade with chinese but now we see him more younger people are allowed to come to the border area and some of them to even cross the border. we can see that they are much smarter and that they communicate with chinese people while and many of them were former students to china and so they understand the market economy, they speak chinese and they understand what can be gotten from the market economies and there are many people like that now especially among the younger people and with this people is the impetus providing the impetus of change in north korea i can only see that there will be more changes to come and
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of course there should be more studies on these topics into the future. the humans right issues could be also dealt with in this context. thank you. [applause] >> i would like to open the floor for any questions or comments that should be as brief as possible and then i will collect all of the questions first and let the speaker answer the floor is open.
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>> inh visiting scholar and i have two questions. you mentioned about the market and how that regime supported the market in the 1990s. i wonder if there were any changes were there any tax at assumptions on the newly emerging capital and also you mentioned how the north korean economy is depending dependent on the political allocation but it also participated in the
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international trade and the experience of competing in the learning effects on the improving efficiency of its economy or how it deals with market forces. thank you very much. it's been a guy with the congressional research service. thank you for the wonderful presentations. i have a brief comment about the presentation into question. it seems to me the kind of economic system that you describes reminds me strongly of the dark ages or the middle ages prior. where the political power = economic powers and i would be curious to hear your reaction to
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that. the question is the system that you described wonderfully to the presentation as having come out as kim jong-il's rise to power. easy but still as the basic system that is operating now? is that the description of the present circumstance or is that -- is representation mostly about the kind of transition of the economy? thank you. >> the lady over there. >> thank you very much for your presentations. i'm with the korean movement. i have to questions if i could. one is talk about this military involvement in the commercial activities it sounds a lot like with china went through in the 1990s come in the early 1990s from what i remember
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hearing when the military budgets started being cut, the military in china started to get deeply involved in the commercial activities and by the 1990s the northern industrial corporation with huge. it was getting into all kinds of activities including the telecom business licenses. and i wondered when you mentioned about this military involvement starting in the 19 '90s i'm sure that it was driven by what was happening inside of north korea but i wondered if there was any indication that they were learning from what was happening in china. ..
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he or she can actually sell that license. i am sure this -- that sharing scheme would continue. but when but when you mentioned the weak institutional capacity and north korea, i wonder if this kind of activities, even buying and selling the rights to the enterprise, rights to the private sharing scheme in any way can be viewed as a form of institutional development. thank you very much.
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>> one more question. after that, if we still have the time then another round of q&a. >> the concentration on primary commodities, as you call them, is that routed to the abysmal history of production of basic resources in farming and material goods? or is it related to some other factors? if so, could you identify them? >> all right. response to the questions. >> for example, when they sell points they buy.
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they can get benefits. perfect sharing. so. [inaudible] then shared by states. it is kind of testing, i think. >> i will give you a translator. >> inspired by the german socialist. the sociality, to analyze the premodern.
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yes. i wander through literature to understand. and i found that it's very inspiring to have insight to analyze. and i also am inspired by premodern korean. [inaudible] the taxation system. all lands are owned by the king. part of the land. so in north korea there is a certain amount of license
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distributed to the powerful agencies. and all properties are officially owned by the state. the tax system was incorporated. the socialist economy incorporates a certain tax system. but in the 1990s the socialist economy has collapsed. also, the tax system has collapsed. and from the 1990s. kim jong-il distributed trade horizon and demands.
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yes. this is a a tax system, but it is not legally binding, and there is no systematic tax system. people, ordinary people demanded to donate some money, for example, to build must send workers. must send some materials to construct national ski resort. there is no legally binding political system. and i say economies are
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stagnating. the north korean economy basically primary goods export country, primary country, primary goods export country. you have to remember, russia is suffer from downpour of oil prices. and also, before the 1980s mid-level investor industrial economy. but the basic infrastructure has collapsed. and what north korea can expect, only primary goods, mineral. and forced product. and you have only a certain amount. you can have only a certain amount of fishery.
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and if you develop manufacturing you can learn very much from outside world, world economy. you must introduce technology, and you must adapt yourself. but but if you are primary good export country you don't have to run from the world economy. yes. kim jong-il distributes trade license. kim jong-il present or give a certain amount of trade license. they distribute, divide licenses to the soviet union. there is a merchant who gets licenses from the military
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unit. he can sell his licenses if he can pay back some of the money. it is illegal. everybody does the same. information of institutions. and in north korea the market has developed by its own dynamic. we can observe the institutional system has developed autonomously without the protection or the guarantee of legality. we are the rule of law. there is no rule of law in north korea. but as we have said, this
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autonomous development there is no guarantee. and anytime the political power can intervene. yes. >> thank you very much. >> presented today the basic structure of what i have presented today is the same. but the problem, because. [indiscernible] has changed the power structure must be changed. the change of power structure means that the distribution of licenses must be changed. during the transition been removed. yes. in order to make room for redistribution, as you say.
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>> now expressing a kind of process. talked about that. so kim jong-il is trying to change the power structure and also economic structure. that means that they don't have regulation or rule. i have to change the people, not because of their political position, because of there economic power. so ready for transitional form one group of people to the other. in this case there is corruption. so corruption ironically, if there is no corruption in north korea can happen. so the people in power, they have power to redistribute
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economic license. they have corruption. so they have some kind of a location to secure after they provide permission to do business. so in this case they have to stay in one condition for a short amount of time. if they stay stay for a longer time the power can be took. so this is a process. so this markets opposition is changing the system, not only in this economic sector but also in the bureaucracy sector. so this is a whole host moving from traditional imperials. so this is a markedly different. we have to look at the system.
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sometimes they are demoted or promoted. they go back to their position. that process is not meaningful. it is through this process they lose there job but in this process they lose their whole life to provide licenses. so even though for example, i'm not sure, but children that came back, number three on number four position. i think he is also selling the rights for the economic power. he looks the same, but his pocket is empty. >> thank you. you want to respond to some of the questions? [speaking in native tongue]
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>> translator: mentioned about taxation. actually, i studied quite a a bit when it comes to taxation because, you know, the government does not always answer for economic activities. how are they able to thrive at the budget that is needed? and i looked at the example of china. i tried to learn what the north koreans may have learned from the chinese experience. in the earlier days when china was poor and unable to provide for the public festivities commence the public festivities themselves, for example, the
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public library, public library, the library would actually engage in commercial activity. and the and the library would allow for, for example, cafeteria within the library or to allow for certain books to be loaned out for price. so the public library was able to stay afloat even though there was no subsidy or support from the central government. and the same applies to the north korean experience. so various public entities in north korea would text their users by charging them fees for usage and also charging fees to people who would be engaged in commercial activities within the vicinity of the public entity. and there is sort of a bidding process of a sort where the highest bidder would have the privilege to
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engage in commercial activities within certain areas. so i don't no if you can really call that a taxation, but it is in a way to the people who are utilizing the facilities. so this is not something that you would find in the textbook, tax code of north korea, but this is how the taxation system works. north koreans had learned from the chinese experience. this experience. this is how these public entities actually are able to survive because otherwise without any subsidy or support from the central government how are these public entities to survive? they come up with these ways , some ingenious to survive and stay afloat. >> i also studied the
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participation in the commercial activities in china. many cases indonesia. i don't know. but the organizations took party. china, indonesia, in north korea they took part in commercial activities. >> to questions. >> today we did not talk much about north korea. i am just wondering, how
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much more on china's economy and how much the marketization process for north korea. it is my understanding. i heard he was the go to guy in terms of north korea making some deals with china was there any change, relations between north korea and china? >> thank you. the final question. >> okay. for the permitted commercialism to be successful or prevail among normal people in north
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korea, i guess, there should there should be some belief that the transactions will be conducted as promised or as expected. for example, especially when it comes to long-distance transactions by delivering your package from end and to a different area for long-distance money transfer , which is burgeoning in north korea thanks a cell phone usage. so i think thanks to this kind of information technology development, there is at least permitted development, trust building among people. although it could be limited to the market activities. my my question is, what we will be the potential social impact? >> absolutely.
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>> thank you. thank you very much. >> respond. >> i think the social impact we will be tremendous. the north korean regime is flexible in the marketization. but i think very, very tough social countries never being relaxed at all. it's impact on social can be widespread. at certain.of time. at the moment much more including border patrol.
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>> about nowadays 80 percent is done with china. very much north korean market. the main trading partner has been china. had commercial radiance with north korea. even the first part of market development was 2,000 chinese merchants. they played a big role in emigrating commercial activities in north korea.
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but i suppose basically north korea's market development is done, carried out based on its own dynamic and i suppose if you look at any dictatorship in the world, all dictatorships are based on market economies. i suppose north korea is transforming a normal market economy. economy. but if you look at this market economy, the majority of the dictatorships, the economy is very good. and already dictatorship which can develop manufacturing, how economic
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growth, china, china, south korea, taiwan, singapore, vietnam, all of these countries have developed manufacturing. manufacturing develops. and then you hire more people and pay wages and so on and so forth. and only manufacturing oriented dictatorships, market economies could use this. as as this economy develops we have also seen that democracy development, development, but if you look at primary goods oriented economy, there is no developed democracy. and there is no, we can say, developed a trust building on a certain level. so if you look at russia,
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russia, central asia, economies are based on primary goods export. market transactions can be having a long history, and and markets can be indebted in any kind of system, but only if the market system based on manufacturing with democracy has produced prosperity and has produced a higher level of trust in the society. >> thank you very much. i thank all of you in the audience for your attention and participation. of course, i think our three speakers for their presentations. section one is included. thank you. [applauding]
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>> short coffee break. ten to 12 minutes. there is coffee just out in the corridor. please leave your coffee out there. do not bring there. do not bring it in the auditorium. just around 335, 338. >> here on teewun, this c-span2, this wilson center forum on north and south korea continues as a panel of journalists talks about some of the challenges and covering north korea. again, the event - work break now, as you heard, ten to 15 minutes for a coffee break. until coffee break. until it resumes, here is a portion from earlier in the forum. >> thank you very much. it is an honor for me to
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preside over this important session of free marketization, impact of the korean waves in north korea. changes are taking place in north korea in many areas in a positive and negative ways. today we will leverage our discussion from the usual military and security and human rights aspect of the north korean issue. instead we will concentrate on the social aspect of the north korean issue. in the absence of a rational system, the marketplace have
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proliferated as the place for agricultural production and merchandising and also for the interaction of the north korean people in information exchanges and knowledge exchanges in international currency exchanges. actually, the north korean regime seems to be in a catch-22 situation in terms of controlling the marketization,, which is now spreading, expanding so rapidly. and then allowing such marketplaces has become the lifeline of north korean
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people. another social phenomenon is that north the north korean people are nowadays having more and more access to the south korean pop culture and even newscasts, the dvd, radio, television, and even usb, being caught and punished. and 2.4 million units have been reportedly supplied to the north korean people, and that number will continue to increase. so at this session we we will examine how these social phenomenon we will affect the political and
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social transformation of north korean people. and one of the questions before us is whether the survivor of the north korean regime would be compatible with the unstoppable marketization of north korea so now we have pretty distinguished speakers. person of the korea institute for national unification and center for north korean studies. based in china.
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at the moment the director. for the details these speakers before you. i suggest that each speaker have up to 20 minutes so that we can have some time for useful discussions and interactions between the podium in the audience. so now i would like to invite novel i am glad to be here again at this building. it is my third time to this ram.
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nowadays marketization is one of the keywords. discuss an opening to a change that topic. so it is much less controversial. today i would like to discuss three major topics. it's impact of social and. the marketization.
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divided into three stages. the first stages from mid- 1990s. public distribution at the top decreased and maine stayed were shut down. this marketization was not intended. only seven or eight years. they decided to bring marketization and. that was in 2,002. so-called july 1 improvement measure was to justify and endorse what has already taken place in north korea. they tried to encourage
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marketization and was decentralized for policymaking by allowing power to dispose. so in this time their have been ups and downs in marketization. north korea has open the market, market economy. marketization may cause instability in north korea. always the most important concern. sometimes he suppressed the marketization. 2009, serious blow. the serious blow. the third stage was from 2012 until now. this time can be called
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marketization by principal means. it ended in 2010. affected by two factors. the former economy has grown during the last two decades and accounts for up to 50 percent of north korea's activity. and the former household income accounts for up to 75 percent of the total household income. this was a tremendous increase to the last 15 years. now, north korea also learned lessons from the past experience on how dangerous it is.
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since 2,008 and the dramatic increase for the regime. this kind of increasing currency only by the state pressuring the north korean regime, the market to attract the centralized plan market. so try to secure currency by every possible means. for example, what is right and corrupt. exporting label. above all, construction, the apartment building has
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special implications. people living in undeveloped countries like north korea tend to be fascinated by high-rise and modern buildings. the construction of apartment buildings, an excellent array of showing off. under the circumstances where the state lacks financial resources. however, the credit the credit climate can only be operated by private capital. so let me move to social marketization. so there are three aspects of social impact over marketization.
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marketization causes the spaces to change. now by the preference of the private capital holders. holders. for example, they can select a circuit size and shoes. the interior of the apartment and so on. and also, apartments are upgraded and the price of a single apartment can be over $100,000. 30,000 or $40,000. so this price continues to rise. in other words, private capital changes.
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the house to house housing patterns. exasperating. the second aspect is emergence of a new innovation. current north korean youth have grown up. not a planned economy. parents of a younger generation working in the market system. so this young generation, they no much more open experience. they usually gather in the market where the parents are working. they can exchange information from outside and they can get much more access to the outside world. they have much less, you no, to the region because they don't -- they are not
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trained in organizations. so they have different perceptions and ideas toward the regime and the outside world. marketization. so in particular the regime is very flexible in marketization. they don't control marketization, but the social country much, much more tighter than the previous government area so we can maybe misunderstand. much more flexible. actually, it's much more region and principled than before. but the market is much more flexible. let me move on.
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this has very important political implications. he has said that the power elite should stay in one position for ten years, particularly in the local committee. and every tenure chief of staff and people's army was more than 60 years under kim jong-il. he stayed in the same position for 15 years. however, this position of a a long tenure in one position is not the case anymore under the regime. frequently the power elite. so some people say that this
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is the sign of the regime. some people say that this is a sign of strength. but i i think it is a sign of the strength. he can to find the regime of the political elite mean that he can secure his own economic power by removing the economic interest. so the most power elites have economic connections. they can provide economic license command also they can support or provide aid to these men. strong connections with businessmen. this kind of connection with businessmen, power to
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provide license. by using this power he can secure his own. >> i want to thank you for joining us this afternoon for a panel discussion on the challenges, pitfalls, and problems and problems of reporting on such a secretive state as north korea. long posed a unique set of challenges to those trying to decipher what is going on inside. this this is a problem that really goes back decades. the wilson center gathers the diplomatic record of north korea's former communist allies, and these are papers of the former communist bloc diplomats that were based in writing from. we do this for a a couple of
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reasons, to advance our historical knowledge, but we also do it to get a a better understanding of the sources of north korean conduct and to identify or to really help inform policy by identifying the long terms. but the thing with these documents is that their is, you know, a reoccurring theme with many of them. you know, you have have these former communist diplomats writing in north korea from their embassies. and they and they are all talking about, you know, the difficulty of gathering information. north korea intentionally kept even its allies, it's fraternal communist allies in the dark. you know, it was was incredibly difficult for them to write diplomatic cables and to send them back
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in forming our foreign ministry of what is going on in the country with domestic politics or foreign relations were economic development. i was talking to one former east german ambassador, and he likened it to, you know, you pick up pebbles here and there and hope that a mosaic of some sort or a picture emerges. so there are real challenges the good thing for these former communist diplomats in north korea is that they had ways of getting around this, this, ways of dealing with their isolation and the challenges of getting information. they they had each other. they shared notes with one another. so we have reports than where you have ambassadors that our meeting regularly and describing the content of their meetings with north
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korean officials were describing what they observed and their interpretations. this is something that makes the job of a historian working on north korea today much easier. i don't envy journalists because they don't, of course, have the benefit of working with diplomatic records when writing on contemporary issues in north korea. their job is really much, much, much more difficult than that of a historian for a number of reasons. first, i like the diplomats who are nonetheless isolated you are not fraternal or ideological allies. what this means is you are perceived as being from hostile nations. a major challenge. another challenge is while
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these former diplomats writing these cables, while they compared notes with one another i i get the sense that from journalists because of the competition to get, you know, scoops on north korea you don't really compare notes à la's. correct me if i am wrong, but there is a real challenge than. you have a country that has been shrouded in this thick cloud. how do you mind that cloud for stories, and stories, and how do you do that credibly and responsibly? so, to help us look at some of these challenges of reporting on north korea we have a great, a stellar panel of journalists and analysts of north korea. we have the former bureau chief for the associated press.
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she actually opened the bureau. she is currently serving as the alicia patterson foundation fellow. we have paul acker, the the former asia correspondent for thomson reuters, spent over 20 years working on korea and japan on east asia we have the director and founder of nk news. we have the bureau chief and washington correspondent for the korean broadcasting system, and we have the washington correspondent for the daily newspaper. we are going to start, i am going to ask each of you two
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in three or four minutes just make an opening statement describing what you think, how you perceive 's, what our car for you, the you, the greatest challenges to reporting, writing on north korea? so, what are the challenges, the pitfalls of reporting on north korea? >> first i would like to commend the university and the wilson center for including this topic in today's forum. i imagine that most of us here today other disseminate information or consume information. so it is always good to take a step back and really look critically at the quality of the coverage and to try to find ways to help journalists improve the coverage or improve the
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environment for coverage. so i will just make a couple points to keep in mind as we carry out this discussion. i would just like to say that i am -- i can't underestimate the impact that the internet has had on coverage in general in journalism. i am old enough to remember the day when i worked at a newspaper and we had one deadline at the end of the day. we had all day to work on the story, to confirm information. that is certainly not the case today. a 24-hour news cycle news cycle with cable tv and internet and smart phones'. it does not leave us a lot of time to verify information. sometimes some of the accuracy comes at the expense of the demand and the speed required in today's news environment. there is the rise of citizen journalism, the emergence of online blogs. anybody with a computer and internet access can become an expert on a topic or call themselves a journalist without the training and understanding of ethics and the standards that come when you do an apprenticeship in
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traditional journalism. we are certainly seeing us that the new standard in journalism today. and i should remind you that journalism is a business. the pressure these days, especially with the internet, people expecting to get information for free is sometimes very high on journalists to entertain rather than educate because, to be frank, entertainment brings in a lot more monies and stories that educate. this is something we face as well when it comes to demand and the type of news that sells. and of course all these challenges we are facing is compounded when it comes to north korea with the basic challenge of access. so on top of all these demands to produce 24 hour news around the clock, we have got the basic problem of getting into north korea. the korea. the freedom house think tank publishes a global survey on
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press freedom. north korea comes in every year at the very bottom. it is an incredibly difficult country to get into. over the past six years since i have been host to asia a i believe their have been four official media jackets. there have been maybe five. so very few opportunities for foreign correspondents to get into the country legally. and so that is the basic problem of access. that does make it very difficult for us. on top of that the north korean regime and government have not produced or published statistics. extremely statistics. extremely difficult for us to obtain and verify information. sometimes we just don't have the time or resources. some journalists don't take the time or have the resources to follow up on some of
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those details to provide the kind of accurate reporting that i think is important in coverage of north korea. in any case, i hope you can keep some of those points in mind and we can discuss what we can do, how you as readers of news coverage should be looking at this coverage critically and what it is you can do as people who are involved in policy and experts to help journalists understand the country and provide better coverage. >> thank you, jeanne. i do want to commend the wilson center archival project. it is not current events if your interested, and i was not following the pattern of how north korea was working even back in the late 50s and early 60s on some sort of nuclear capability. the documents are there. it is fun reading. there are some patterns of behavior that repeat themselves regardless of the audience. jeanne hit the nail on the head on a lot of issues facing journalism in general, foreign journalism
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as well. i won't repeat but maybe expand a little bit. small unless it misbehaves dramatically or some crazy person shows up there like dennis rodman or there is a celebrity aspect which to me seems a little memorable after doing scholarly work in north korea and taking it seriously, to have that be the driver. at the same time, in the business since i i was our eyeballs. maybe in the larger humanitarian sense, any more attention to north korea is a good thing in the long run. i don't know. i would be curious on that. the access issue, of course, drives you crazy. i am not exclusively but have specialized in north korea on and specialized in north korea on and off since the early 90s. a lot of times -- i got my
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start in journalism in tokyo if you are working for a news agency in japan in the 90s before south korea relaxed some of its policies, you were kind of the de facto pulse taker because it was illegal to monitor it and south korea under the -- it still is. is. okay. they tended to under the sunshine policy error, in other words, in any case, reuters, we shifted our north korea pending operations from tokyo to seoul right around the time of the sunshine policy. it was always before that very cumbersome because you would have in addition to whatever you did in japan in your coverage whether it be military or political, social, you always had to keep an eye on the pulse of something were to happen. one of the things that happened on my watch and tokyo was the death of the first founding leader. that was before the internet. we
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were kind of one of the voices. you chose your words carefully because you were one of the world's views on north korea, one of the formative use. use. the access question is, of course, north korea. i remember even when there was good news, something to celebrate, rubbing, rubbing shoulders with the north korean diplomat in beijing. i said, well, this would be a good opportunity to invite some journalists, and he just laughed at me that knowing laugh. and going to happen. and going to happen. it's funny that you still think it might have been. so there is that. the the access is no picnic, even here in washington, the nature of things, we are not in a time of intense crisis tween the united states and north korea right now and have not been for quite a while, since the nuclear test of 2013. so there is not that intense spotlight that there has been. been. when it shines brightly, that is the hardest time to get something, to get information on this side of the pond. and i think think all the countries that you
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consider players on north korea,, if you can consider the six party component, they are kind of a wall on this story because their media function differently. it was not always the case. russian had long trained great linguists under the soviet union and they became experts in some of those people, but they don't really -- it's not like there is a collective weight they have to pull, but you are operating in absence of any kind of other lead and other potential sources to follow. the case in china, china is much more relaxed about the press the north korea, which is not saying much, when you cover social issues and all but high politics in china you do have a local media that digs into things within limits, but they do, environmental or social issues, sexual
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issues. somewhat of an open book. north korea does practically none of that that i no i know of. they are not even a component of the coverage. i will say, again, it is not unique to north korea. north korea is on one extreme end, but in terms of the working conditions we now no their are worse places to be caught as a journalist for north korea from those unfortunate videos that have circulated. so to keep things in perspective, as i was remarking to a friend in the audience earlier, the marquis of thailand is impossible to cover from that country. burma until recently was best covered from outside and maybe only covered from outside. there is a spectrum of this, and north korea does sit on that one extreme end. i will close with that. >> okay. thanks. i start by echoing a lot of
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what was just said. for me, one of the key issues is that north korea has a disproportionate amount of interest from the general public. you will find about five times as many articles as if you google ivory coast's news. coast news. now, ivory coast is one country that has a much more open information environment a much freer manner, but a lot more interest in north korea, and part of that is because the general public, because of this access issue, tends to look at north korea sometimes as if it is the moon, another planet. ..
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>> if those times when personally it does get to you and you just wish it could be a bit more of a normal country and access and get in an interview people and find leads for content. that's something that troubles me a lot. it's something in the long term if we can't resolve that will i think drive good journalist away from the subjects because they will just find it to be such a challenge to continue working on.
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the other thing which has been alluded to is we have an issue come a difficulty with reports from north korea that's quite unique to international relations. so we often higher south korean nationals, be they in terms -- we have a problem with quite a high turnover rate with these people. oftentimes they will apply for the jobs come start very eager and within two or three weeks get pressure from france or from and not continue because of the national security acts in south korea. and it can be a challenge to access north korean began the. is also a fear sometimes in families that doing this kind of work will make the target, -- it just makes it difficult. the other difficulty is doing it
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on such a specialist basis. we relied on our users for the bulk of our revenue. we operate in a very shoestring budget. as an a lot of the other specialists provide in south korea. that's an issue for the medium to long-term again. if we can't pay quality journalists reasonable salaries in individual long-term they would just get of the subject. again that's going to be a problem for maintaining high quality journalists still in the long term. >> we are being north of korea news in korea, specially special documentary program. and every day you are seeing news on north korea. i have to confess on this point i had made a lot of error.
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as editor, we can't have mistake. everybody talking about access issue. there are limitations from north korea. doctor mentioned about punishment if we think of north korea and then nature of north korea, i think it's very dangerous to make these mistakes of any coverage of north korean news. [inaudible] can we make mistake? and then we have to make follow-up on information, and sometimes we can find a solution
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from the news. so even though it's natural for us to make some mistakes have been covered north korea news, it's much more important to make quick correction on the news. and also i want to make, confess one more issue. intentional false report or providing false information from the certain suppliers. maybe belong to some think tank or media or the web.
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sometimes they providing the false information, information intentional, intentionally. so maybe getting some money, but those kind of actions, certain kind of -- [inaudible] as journalist and traditional media, we have to be very cautious on that kind of activities. so as a journalist it is very dangerous for us to make up some mistakes. but as i mentioned, quick corrections and portions against the intentional, the providing of false information very
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important thing for us. we have to think about that very carefully. that's my comment. >> great, thank you. sukho shin has actually written a book about the problems of reporting on north korea. you can hold it up if you would like. as he calls it, he calls it is a problem -- of journalism, or division journalism i guess. but, but how do you find that? tell us the thesis of the book, if you could. >> thank you, james. i have been covering north korea for 12 years, since 2002. i think i did good job, but --
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[laughter] sometimes i make mistakes. in 2010, i confessed in my column some of my mistakes in our paper. after that, some said, that was very good. you are very brave. so i developed the column and i published a book in 2012. i came to washington, d.c. as correspondent, companies. it has not been translated in english, but english name will be overcoming the bad journalism on north korea, maybe. not divisive journalism, but bad
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journalism on north korea, i think. in this book i define what bad journalism on north korea is, and stated what are the reasons, what are the causes. and then what is to be done? as for the definition, i think like that, my fellow journalis journalists, inside and outside south korea are striving day and night to getting information and facts, what is going on. from time to time we can find some -- [inaudible] it is partially correct or incorrect, unfair, it having
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sources. we can see too much guessing. and we can see political tainted information. and lots of wishful thinking. and then all the blame or over beautify on north korean regime. maybe there will be inadequate courts from inadequate puntland. -- contents. that is my definition. for now i will -- thank you yo your. >> i suspect you're going to
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have a lot to feed off one another but sensationalism came up. you do see a lot of sensationalism in reporting on north korea. just, you know, the recent 40 day disappearance of kim jong-un was really, was a trying time for people that do study the country to see so many reports coming out with just these really sensational claims or reports. is this a result of the lack of -- chad, you said that north korea is seen as being the moon. for me i say that there's this general impression that north korea is unknown and unknowable.
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and so people feel that they can, i guess the standards and ethics of journalism sort of go out the window in some reports. but in some reporting on north korea. and there's a lot of sensationalism in the reporting. >> going to tha that example, se on that example from the problem is at once in a while there is a kernel of truth to some of these rumors. and so for that reason, for example, when kim jong-il died it was a couple days. obviously, you probably never but when tim am still died, how long was it before the world new? >> it was a long time. >> so likewise. when there is a gap you can't help but speculate and wonder what is happening behind closed doors. and so in the case of kim jong-un's disappearance for 40 days you can help a speculate about what's going on behind closed doors.
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unfortunate because there is some kind a sometimes a kernel of truth to these rumors, the media sometimes required to speculate or to address that issue. >> but ap and what and why, tightlipped on those matters. generally don't print speculation. no windows before but diplomat a sense this. meanwhile, russia, in russia they are saying this. i think the problem comes at the next level what people are not really so much reporting on north korea but assembling stories about north korea for websites over to chad. >> yeah. talk about colonels of truth. in this example some of you will be motivated up shows the absurd levels, desperate for 40 days. we had a situation or if you remember it started i think around day 21 people asked where kim jong-un was.
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there was rumors that he was having health issues. bizarrely, about six or nine months before there was a report about cheese imports into north korea and specifically from switzerland. and so those things started coming together. to the point i will just read you a couple of lines. kim jong-un is hiding an intel cheese addiction. kim jong-un has vanished after binging on cheese imported into vast quantities from switzerland. it has been claimed. as the rest of the country saw, he has ballooned in wait facing a so much cheese. i could go on and on it. there were nuggets of truth but the fact it is acceptable in outlets like the "huffington post," international business times, outlets to just throw together this nonsense and present it based on the lucid claims i think shows some of the
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series of challenges that we are facing in terms of north korea. it led to other ramifications. morris responds with people in d.c. from new focus international, or new focus, rather, when the disappearance happened there was a conference held with senior exiles, and coincidentally they were talking about their hypothesis that kim jong-un is not really in control. so when some journalist saw that and also saw that kim jong-un was missing, it was a perfect time to go over this theory that's being come he's been pushing for the last year or so. and that then led to headlines saying there had been a coup.
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those started echoing around d.c. because a lot of experts were starting to get drawn into this. sorry, specialist, watches. but it really, it did i would say it did hurt the reputation damage because they just happened to be having a very emerging at the wrong time and all these coincidences occurred of kim jong-un's disappearance and we had a situation where people incorrectly assumed that must be a coup d'état. >> i was at that conference, and what was being said was, i mean, the theory was fair but what really came out to me at least was that this organization guidance department serve as sort of a guarantor of ideological purity. it's not such of his shadowy organization that sort of controlling things, but they are the ones that are guaranteeing
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that diplomats, that all party officials, everyone in the party adheres to the 10 points of the monolithic leadership system, ideological system, and that they are following the party line. that was what really emerged from the conference. not that there's this shadowy organization, but the person who's been pushing this idea, then gave these interviews where he elaborated on things that come or serve expand upon i get it really didn't come out from the broader group of participants, the exiles that participate in that conference. i was on a panel where i was asking them, what is the role of this? if you're saying they're in control, do they play a real function in the formation of foreign policy? the panel i was on was dealing
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with foreign policy, and the former diplomat i was asking this question to, no, they just make sure that diplomats are on the party line. but you see that, then go to the extreme that it did where they are taking this and saying that kim jong-un is when not in control at they are in power is shocking to me. >> doctor shim, i would doubt he has a ph.d in north korean studies and is not the other south korean media bureau chief in the city with a ph.d of north korean studies. they put in their time. dimension expression inadequate pundit which is kind of funny at the risk of being one myself on this panel, but it struck me as very eye opening, the last round of nuclear tests which were the first under kim jong-un, suddenly there were like 50 more north korean experts being advertised by their
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universities, beauty departments, et cetera don't ever remember in the circle, people at a record in 15 years. these people were accredited academic but when you look at the actual north korea, it was maybe one was a part-time diplomat at the cato organization for a while and you can turn that into something but some of the more insightful but suddenly these are people i never heard of expounding on north korea. we don't rely heavily on those folks by any means but still there's a certain window of opportunism that sort of pops up with this kind of story. >> here's the question then of a credibility. how do you verify the credibility of sources? like in this case with the bank recently we've had reports of, the reports of kim jong-un having died having had a stroke while on the phone arguing with kim jong-un about the execution of her husband.
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the first question that popped in my mind is how did this guy no? i don't know who it was, was he still in the country at the time? what was his role? off your hearing is that this person is reporting and that's fact spent i think sourcing an adjective is in a crowded important component to this whole discussion. and might explain why we get, we have these stories that are based on rumors but i think the standard is quite different for reuters and ap and other big news organizations. in south korean media can explain to us what the standards are for sourcing an attribution but generally speaking you want to have two sources for any story and you generally want to maintain. because if you don't name sources they can't be held accountable. and if asked not to be named after much discussion because i think we are very reluctant to
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publish somebody as an anonymous source. we have to explain why is it requested anonymity. went to also expand how they are privy to the information and have to find another person to back up that information. if you look at a lot of stores that are published about north korea they do not meet that standard but, unfortunately, what happened in south korea, very competitive market, they're very quick, so in his outlets, very quick to put information out, often with one unnamed source. doesn't explain how they got that information and enforcement what happens is there's so much foreign pressure to pick up that information in spite of the south korean outlet as the source. goes to the upper chamber effect. nobody knows what the real source was. it's one thing i was asked as well. who said this? how do you know this? and who has verified it, who has
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backed it up to speed? on the echo chamber i was sharing yesterday i think, remember when you first talking about secession and they're going back and forth between which time it was going to be, kim jong-un technical back and forth. i think two papers in south korea reported different things. once had -- i don't member if there was anything on kim jong-un. and then there was somebody in washington at an event who said we are receiving reports that kim jong-un will succeed. the very next day you see a south korean press u.s. experts saying that -- anyway, maybe doctor shum cometh want to comment? [inaudible] expertise on the north korea
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issue, we can escape from the false reporting gilad on media, succession of the three sons or the death of, or the disappearance of kim jong-un. i think on this issue, mainstream media in korea it make that much report on this issue. maybe some journalism like private writers, they write some articles and then on other media, they right after then and then they find a rumor going around.
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when we give report on kim jong-un's disappearance in korea, we have to talk with the problem -- [inaudible] to have more access to north korean information. at the time -- [inaudible] that cannot be a tedious problem. it will appear in some way, so there will be or patience. i remember they didn't make mistake didn't make false report on that. with a little more discussion we
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see -- [inaudible] , i think we can escape some personal, the false report. >> i was going to just say, improper news organization's as we know excuse for sustained standards just because it's north korea and it's north korea and that might have been editing. you have a personal reaction when a he was such a threat to the doctor i don't know any mainstream outlet that touched off an example of the wild speculation but there was a part of me and maybe jean felt that way as well that it might, they might have done it because they have done some very demonstrative punishment of traders in the past. but that's the difference between thinking there's a grain of truth to printing it and then again before the in it when it was a couple major newswires in the world, you tended to bear, i
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at least before the sense i could be the world's first verifies on a given set via plane crash or something so i better be honest because it could come to haunt me. being wrong is one thing i think talking about the because you've been misled or in this competing views that turned out to be wrong themselves. there's a lot of reasons are a lot of factors that go into being wrong sometimes but it doesn't tend to be let's entertained them with this cheese story. at least the level i operate in. it's a different world out there, and i will note what jean said called the mine, the whole anonymous issue really, after the ira iraqi wmd and "new york times" problems, most media outlets and the new times especially took pains to explain in every store, almost to the point that a bird and the story with explanatory rest on why this person said a person who could become a because he was married to someone who might
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have been -- the reasons behind not signing and they became very cumbersome but generally media outlets now do you explain the circumstances under which people cannot be named. >> i also want to find out, i mean, i want to hear from you about the attribution. >> just to follow what. i would disagree that mainstream media outlets are part of this problem because what i see them an example comes straight to mind. kim jong-un -- now, bbc their marching service pack that up and give it a lot of credence by saying in south korea media or south korean media, rfa, sorry guys. the problem is that maybe they won't use of anonymous sources themselves but they will have to
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be quotes, whichever outlet it is and republish that and say a south korean media said. it seems to me a way for the journalistic question here, putting it together, basically wash their hands of responsibility because they can just say, well, we are transferring this from another outlet. >> that's why it takes a good degree of knowledge of what's what within a given media. there's a quality press in south korea and more of those types. >> on the question of attribution, jean, you raised and what are the standards in the south korean press specifically? do you quote from anonymous sources? how do you verify the credibility of these sources where again, with this report
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about kim jong-un dying while on the phone? how is this something that was verified? where are the sources named? >> there is some difference -- [inaudible] to find out whether you die or not. nobody knows. given the korean intelligence agency doesn't know. so that's another problem. usually if we check again and again and issue more opening, and then we can figure out what is going on and what is correct or what is incorrect.
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usually again over discussion, that's the main thing. and also i think to make a little mistake on north korean news, we have reliable source. we have to have reliable source, and then when we meet news, and then we have to talk with them and then he can tell us if it is correct or not, or have more information. that's the one mechanism to make rate news on north korea. >> dr. shin, going back to this idea of journalism in korea, what are some of the problems
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with what were the causes rather? >> i think it is a timely. i found three main causes. my colleagues already found two, but i have a new one. i think the main causes -- [inaudible] too much concern or too much interest in north korea, but to less information or to less facts that journalists can get. because the government don't tell the truth. they think the information is there power. so they used the information. they offer the information when they are necessary.


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